St Brigids and Ballinascreen served up a cracking Ulster
League encounter at Musgrave Park this afternoon – despite the intervention of
It looked as though Liam Bradley’s Screen were on course for
victory thanks to a double from Anton Kelly and further majors from Conor
McKenna and Conor McGovern but St Brigids kept the scoreboard ticking over and
remained in touch thanks to three points from Rory Brolly before a late Peter
King goal rescued a share of the spoils for the south Belfast men.
Conditions were less than ideal at Musgrave Park with a
sharp blustery breeze and rain making playing conditions tough.
It was Ballinascreen who adapted to the conditions better
early-on as they led through Conor McKenna’s early point.
Rory Brolly replied with a point moments later- though
Ballinascreen keeper Ryan McGuigan blocked his low goal attempt in the build-up
and John Toner saw another promising shot blocked before a point was the end
McKenna nudged his side back in front from a converted free
and on 10 minutes the Derry side hit the opening goal.
Conor McGovern slipped the ball to Ryan Doyle who dragged
his shot across the face of goal and Anton Kelly was standing free at the back
post to guide the ball to the net and give his side a 1-02-0-01 lead.
Ryan Tweedie (free) responded and then turned provider for
Joseph Finnegan who fired over the bar.
St Brigids hit the front for the first time on 18 minutes-
referee Jake Magill awarded Brigids a free- which was quickly taken by Jack
Dowling- Ryan McGuigan could only parry and Paul Bradley was on hand to rifle
to the net and make it 1-03-1-02.
Ballinascreen were quickly back on terms through Ronan
Devlin’s point and the next four scores were equally shared.
The Derry side twice edged ahead through converted frees by
Conor McKenna and Anton Kelly, though John Morgan and John Toner responded on
each occasion as the sides were level at 1-05 apiece before the break.
St Brigids were hit with a late sucker punch at the end of
the half though as Conor McKenna’s free dropped to the net amid some confusion-
referee Magill was happy there was no reason to disallow McKenna’s fortuitous
effort and Ballinascreen were 2-05-1-05 to the good at the midway stage.
Patrick Finnegan cut the deficit upon the games resumption
with a fine point, though Coliete Mag Giolla Fhiondain angled over at the other
Ryan Tweedie converted his second free as St Brigids
attempted to close in on Ballinascreen yet again- but on 37 minutes the hosts
fell further behind as Conor McGovern swooped to fist Anton Scullion’s floated
pass to the net to make it 3-06-1-07.
Rory Brolly replied with back to back scores to make it a
three-point game again- though Ballinascreen hit their fourth goal of the game
on the 41st minute as Anton Kelly doubled his account with a
powerful finish past Ryan Murtagh.
St Brigids refused to bow-down however as points Patrick
Finnegan, Ryan Tweedie and Brolly brought the deficit back to three (4-06-1-12)
with little under ten minutes remaining.
They pushed for an equalising score though it looked to have
evaded them until the first minute of injury-time at the end of the game when
Tweedie floated a high free into the area and the ball dropped to Peter King
who shot low into the net past McGuigan to draw the tie level.
The hosts had two opportunities to turn one-point into two-
but their shooting was wayward and at the end both sides settled for a hard
fought point apiece.
St Brigids: R
Murtagh, S McKernan, F McKernan, S Campbell, J Morgan (0-01), P King (1-00), O
Boyle, P Finnegan (0-02), J Finnegan (0-01f), J Toner (0-01), P Henvey, R
Tweedie (0-03, 0-02f), P Bradley (1-00), J Dowling, R Brolly (0-04). Subs: B McCarthy for F McKernan (36); S
Boyle for P Bradley (43); T McKernie for R Tweedie (48); C Conway for J Morgan
(50); D Magee for R Brolly (53).
McGuigan, A McBride, M Bradley, R Devlin (0-01), D McBride, P Burns, R Doyle, P
Bradley, C McKenna (1-03, 1-02f), C Mag Giolla Fhiondain (0-01), C Donnelly, C
McGovern (1-00), JP Devlin, A Kelly (2-01, 0-01f), A Scullion. Subs: C Doyle for C McKenna (41); S
Mulgrew for C Donnelly (41); N Rafferty for JP Devlin (48); P Lagan for A
McBride (52); C Logan for N Rafferty (58).
Tesco All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Junior A semi-final
Loreto Kilkenny 7-13 Cross and Passion Ballycastle 2-4
Cross & Passion’s bid for a place in the All Ireland Collges Junior
Camogie final were blown away in Kilkenny on Saturday, not by Storm Dennis, but
by a devastating Loreto side who put the Ulster champions to the sword with a
brilliant display of all that is good in the game.
“They were just super yesterday and we were beaten by a much better team
on the day” is how CPC selector Una Kelly summed it up when I spoke to her this
morning. “ They got off to a great start and we never really recovered”
Despite playing with the aid of the wind in the opening half CPC were 2-2 down within a few minutes, Claire
Doheny opening the scoring for Loreto with a goal, midfielder Asha McHardy added
the first of her eight points, before a fortunate long-range goal for Amy
Clifford really set the Ballycastle girls back on their heels.
The Ulster champions were struggling but when Aine Magill added two
points and Cassie McArthur grabbed a goal there was a glimmer of hope. It was
to prove a brief respite however as the Leinster champions came back strongly
and by the time the referee sounded the half time whistle they were back in
total command with a 3-7 to 1-2 lead, their third goal coming from Caoimhe
Keher-Murtagh just before the break.
To have any chance of getting back into the game CPC needed to start the
second half strongly, but it was the Kilkenny girls who were quick out of the
traps and they fired in three more goals to kill off any lingering hopes the
Ulster champions may have had. Two of those goals came from the ever dangerous Doheny
and the other from Keher-Murtagh as they pulled clear to secure yet another
final place and now go forward to meet Presentation Athenry in the final on
Knowing the great effort the Cross & Passion girls have put in
during their preparations for this game you have to feel for them.
Orlagh Laverty, Faye McIntosh, Aine Magill, Aoibheann Donnelly and
Cassie McArthur and Broanch Magill all gave their best and Magill’s second half goal proved a small
consolation, but Loreto were on a different level and nobody can deny they are well worthy of
their place in the final.
6 teams competed at Randalstown in the North Antrim U-14 Airborn Division 3 Tournament. Both Creggan and Tir Na Nog won 4 games each. St. Ergnats, All Saints and Loughuile won 2 games each whilst Glenravel won their last game against Loughuile. All 6 teams will compete again next Saturday, 22 February 2020, in the same venue in the semi-final stages
The Annual Saints & Slimmers Dance-Off event takes place on Fri 21st
Feb in the splendid surroundings of the newly refurbished Clock Tower Suite of
the Tullyglass House Hotel. Over 160 participants have been working hard from
early January to increase their fitness, support health and well-being and are
on course to compete for the title of Dance-Off Champions for 2020. 12 teams
will place themselves at the mercy of the judges on the night in pursuit of the
coveted title in the company of 500+ friends and family.
Not forgetting of course the teams’ fundraising efforts to support the
work of the NI Children’s Hospice. A presentation will be made to members of
the local Ballymena Hospice Support Group as a result of the Saints &
Slimmers Spinathon which took place a few weeks ago at the Ballymena Harmony
So why not get yourself along to the Tullyglass House Hotel this Friday
night. Tickets, priced at £10, are available by contacting 07719798099.
With the club scene in Antrim just
around the corner the Saffron Gael takes a look at the men in charge of the
teams competing in this year’s football leagues.
Some have appointed new managers for
the 2020 season while others have held on to a well and trusted pair of hands
as they bid for success in the coming season.
There are a number of teams who have not yet appointed their managers for 2020 or have not responded to our request for that information and we will add them to this article if and when they submit them to us.
If its not broke, dont fix it! Damian Cassidy, Ronan Devlin and Kevin Doyle back in charge at Erin’s Own.
Reigning senior champions, Erin’s Own Cargin have been involved in the gym for a couple of weeks with an early start date secured as they take part in the Ulster Winter league.
The Toome men have secured the
services of Damien Cassidy for another term and the Bellaghy man will again by
assisted by Ronan Devlin and Kevin Doyle as they look to lead the Erin’s Own
men to an historic three in a row.
Lamh Dhearg, who just failed to unseat Cargin in the championship decider after taking the South West side to a replay and will be striving to go one better this time.
The men from the Hill really came
close in 2019 and they will be looking forward to the season ahead.
Mairtin Lynch, who guided the
Hannahstown men to the 2017 title retains the management role for another term and
is again assisted by Terry Mc Crudden.
Casement’s Portglenone gave the championship a real lash last term with the Bannsider’s finally beaten after a couple of replays to the men from Hannahstown.
The South West side served notice
that they mean business and with a youthful squad they will look forward to the
season ahead in a positive mode.
Oak leaf resident, Barry Dillon impressed
in the management role last term and has been awarded a vote of confidence to
continue this year with former player Eoin Doherty also retained.
St Gall’s reached the latter stages of the championship again last term but lost out to the eventual winners in the semi-final but they did enough to suggest that they are capable of challenging again this year.
Paddy Murray has taken the reins this
term and the former net-minder will be assisted by Fay Devlin (Tyrone) and
Gavin Mc Geehan (Derry), as well as St. Gall’s men Mickey Culbert, Paddy Mc
Shane, and Collie Mc Allister as selectors.
Kickham’s Creggan have been there or thereabouts in recent seasons and the 2018 beaten finalists are fancied to make impact again this term.
Kevin Madden has been in charge for
several years but has been appointed to Mickey Harte’s backroom staff in Tyrone
with Gerard Mc Nulty named as successor.
The St Enda’s man has been assistant
to Madden for a couple of years and will by ably assisted by his brother
St John’s started the 2019 season strongly but their championship hopes were dashed by Casement’s after a replay.
The Corrigan men were possibly
hampered by the dual nature of the playing squad with a majority of their
players included in their hurling squad.
John Kelly has resumed in the
managerial role at Corrigan ably assisted again by Mark Bohill and no doubt the
Johnnies will be intent on giving it a real lash this year in their search for
St Mary’s Ahoghill struggled in the early stages last term but the Cloney men are made of stern stuff and when questions are posed they can be relied upon to find an answer and such was evident again when they retained division 1 status at the 11th hour.
A promotion/relegation victory gained
over near neighbours Moneyglass ensured division one survival for the year
Ahoghill have appointed Mick Shaw and
Brian Heaney as management, both hailing from the Oak Leaf County.
St Enda’s struggled to gain momentum last term but the Hightown men had endured a long 2018 season winning an Ulster Intermediate title and came close to an All Ireland title and were without quite a few of that squad for a good part of the season.
Most of the 2018 panel are back in
harness and they are certainly capable of making a strong challenge this year. Frank
Fitzsimmons has retained the reins for another term with Pat Hughes again his
Rossa are back in the top grade after just a year in exile and the Shaw’s road side will see division 1 survival as their initial aim but are capable of better.
Although they lost to Cargin in the
opening round of the championship they made the Toome men work hard for their
victory and with confidence renewed in a fruitful Division two campaign they
will be ready for 2020.
Sean Fleming is back in charge on the
Shaw’s road and the former player has assembled a strong back room team with
Donal Armstrong, Domnal O’ Neill, Paul Beattie, Paul Cushnan, and Peter Murphy
in the selection panel.
It is as you were up at St Mary’s Aghagallon with last year’s management back in harness.
The St Mary’s men had a good 2019
season finishing in a respectable mid-table position in the league before
losing out to St. Gall’s in the championship but they did give the Milltown
side a run for their money.
Kevin Murray is back in charge with John Devlin alongside the Hannahstown man and the youthful St Mary’s are capable of posing a threat in 2020.
St Brigid’s had a good 2019 season finishing in a snug enough mid table slot in the league.
They lost to Casement’s in the senior
championship but they did underline potential when they secured their second
under-21 title in a row getting the better of a good Tir na nOg side in an
Eunan Conway who has been much to the fore in team management has been appointed as manager for 2020 and will be assisted by Collie McGuckin and Anthony Carleton.
Gort na Mona are an ambitious club with excellent facilities but some would suggest that they have failed to reach potential in the recent past.
They did well to retain division one
status last term and will hope to maintain that status in 2020.
The West Belfast men have made what
may well be a shrewd managerial appointment for the season ahead as former
Antrim and St Paul’s regular Niall Ward takes the reins. Having steered Lisburn
to the Junior championship last term Ward has taken charge at Gort na Mona with
Thomas McGilligan alongside.
Management in Divisions Two and Three
The opening phase of the 2020 football leagues is
drawing close with
the first games in Division Two and Three scheduled
for the start
Most if not all of the teams have been busy in
activities and management has been secured.
St Ergnat’s Moneyglass just missed out on their respective bids for
glory in 2019, pipped at the post by Ahoghill in
the promotion play off
and beaten Intermediate championship finalists.
The Marian Hill side will be hoping to go one
better this year and they
have secured the services of Peter Doherty as
manager, an appointment which has caught the eye.
The former Oak Leaf great will be assisted by Hugh
Carey and Paul
Campbell and look likely to be contenders again.
St Teresa’s have struggled to retain division 1 status over the past number
of years before being relegated in 2019.
The Glen road men will play in division 2 and the
championship this season and it will give them the opportunity
Liam Mc Goldrick has retained the reins again this
term and they look capable of being in the promotion race come season’s end.
St James Aldergrove had a great 2019 season when they took the
Intermediate championship back home to Crumlin.
led St. James to glory and the St. John’s man is back at the helm in their
quest for more.
Aldergrove are blessed with a strong youthful panel
and certainly more than capable of
improvement. The senior championship may be out of reach at present but they
may well be in the mix for a promotion place come the end of the season.
Tir na nOg have been there or thereabouts recently in the quest for honours and no doubt the Randalstown dual club will be up there again this term.
They have made an excellent appointment in
management with Ronan Rocks assuming the hot seat up at Whitehill. The Derry
man will be assisted in his new role by James McVeigh and with a strong youthful
squad available up at the Hill they may well be in the chase for honours at
Cuchullian’s Dunloy are more than capable of making their mark in
this division but they are hampered by their duel
nature with hurling given priority at vital parts of the season. This usually
deprives them of a sustained push for league honours but they are nearly always
in the shake up for Intermediate championship honours.
Anthony McQuillan is the man at the helm and his season will be marked by the availability of key players.
All Saints are more than capable of challenging in the second grade but the Ballymena men have failed to reach their potential over the past couple of seasons.
Sean O’ Brien, Conor Connolly, Paul McCann, and Damien Hagan are charged with the care of what is no doubt a talented squad which is more than capable of making a mark. Hagan could prove a useful addition to the management team.
Kickham’s Ardoyne were pipped at the post in the Junior decider last term but in the event the North Belfast side did well to earn promotion to division 2.
Ardoyne are an ambitious side and have appointed
former Down player and All Ireland winner Ross Carr as manager following the
departure of Paddy Murray to St. Gall’s.
The Down man will be assisted in his managerial
endeavours by Damien Toal, Paddy Rice, and Michael Boyle and the Kickham’s side
may well make a mark.
Con Magee’s Glenravel had an excellent 2019 campaign as a top six finish underlined.
Following promotion from division 3 in 2018
Glenravel performed well in division 2 in 2019 with Ian Mc Keown, Declan
McGeehan, Jordan McNeill, and Gareth Mc Keown the men in charge and they look
well capable of further improvement in the coming season.
Having just opened a splendid new stadium Michael Davitt’s will be looking forward to the 2020 season and with Sean O’Neill taking up the management role assisted by Michael Brady, Chris Rafferty, and Liam McGivern they could be in for a successful season.
St Paul’s made an immediate return to division 2 following relegation the previous season while also reaching the Intermediate championship semi-final where they lost to eventual winners, Aldergrove.
The Shaws Road side look capable of holding their
own in division 2 and
Paddy Linden Conor McAulfield, and Seamus Toomey have
been handed a vote of confidence for 2020.
Patrick Sarsfield’s have been there or there about of late but the dual club are aiming higher and intend to make a firm challenge in 2020. The Paddies have instated Jim McMenamin in the hot seat and he will be assisted by Liam McAllister, and John and Paul Barr.
St Joseph’s Glenavy had a poor season in division 2 last year following their relegation from division 1 in 2018.Former Derry native Jock Duffy has taken the reins at the Chapel Hill, assisted by Anthony McGarry, Danny 0’Neill, Gerard Hamilton, and Damien McGreevey and they will be hoping to make a strong challenge this coming season.
Despite success in Junior championship St Patrick’s, Lisburn suffered relegation from division 2 after one season and will be hoping for a quick return.
St Patrick’s will be fully focused on a quick
return to the second grade and Cormac McKenna, Martin Kennedy, Paul Law, and Peter
Mallon will be hoping to guide them there.
St Mary’s Rasharkin lost out to Ardoyne in the relegation/promotion play off last term and the Dreen men will be hoping for a quick return to the higher grade again.
Eire Og have struggled in recent seasons but they did hint at progress last term under Andy Mc Gowan.
Having retained the services of the
former St John’s man for another term the Ogs will be aiming for further
St Agnes have struggled for a while but the occupiers of the excellent facilities at Woodlands are ambitious in the extreme and are hoping for improvement this year.
The West Belfast side have made a new managerial appointment this term as Tyrone man Tiffy Quinn takes the reins and improvement may well be on the cards.
St Comgall’s Antrim were up there near the top of the ratings for all of the 2019 season but they just failed to make the cut.
Former Creggan man Adrian Dougan is
back in charge at the Dunsilly venue and his charges are more than likely to be
up there in the mix again.
Mc Crory Park based Cardinal O’ Donnell’s have struggled over the past couple of seasons having lost their hard earned berth in the second grade.
The West Belfast side will be seeking
improvement in 2020 with former St Mary’s Aldergrove man James Brazier holding
the managerial reins this term.
Patrick Pearses have gained in improvement over the past couple of seasons and the North Belfast side will hope such positivity can continue in 2020.
Conor Henry has been appointed as
manager ably assisted by Marty Hill and Sean Mc Donald.
St Malachys have proved somewhat enigmatic in recent years but the men from the Market area of Belfast are more than capable when in the mood.
Seamus Mc Kenna has assumed the role of manager in 2020 and they may well make progress.
McQuillan’s Ballycastle have a new management team in place this season with Conor Kelly taking charge of the team with Seamus McIlroy, Gerard McIlroy, Michael Magee and Liam Boyle as coaches/selectors